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Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) transc Pablo Casals
Après un Rêve [3’39]
Emile BOURDON (1884-1974)

Andantino Religioso op. 15 [5’38]
César FRANCK (1822-1890)

Andantino [5’18]
Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901)

Trois Pièces op. 150: Abendlied [3’53]; Pastorale [5’01]; Elegie [4’03]
Leon BOËLLMANN (1862-1897)

Suite Gothique op. 25: Introduction-Choral [2’16]; Menuet gothique [2’35]; Prière a Notre Dame (with ’cello) [4’03]; Toccata [4’01]
Lucien BLIN (1906-1975)

Recueillement [3’44]
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)

Priere op. 158 [4’14]

Fugue en Fa mineur [5’05]
Dominique A. RIVOLTA (1948-)

Melodie transmutée [3'19]
Daniel ROTH (1942-)

Artizarra, Fantaisie sur un chant populaire basque [8’12]
Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin, organ
Philippe Cauchefer, ’cello
Rec: February 2004, Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, Paris DDD
FESTIVO 6962.002 [65’19]


This is an unusual CD of music for ’cello and organ played by Sophie-Veronique Cauchefer-Choplin, co-titulaire of St Sulpice, together with her brother, Philippe Cauchefer, principal ’cellist of the Orchestre Regional de Cannes. Both play well in a programme of French and German music of the 19th and 20th centuries including pieces by virtually unknown figures such as Lucien Blin, (grandfather of the performers), and Dominique Rivolta, a self-taught Parisian composer.

The organ seems particularly well chosen, Madame Choplin is titulaire at Saint Jean-Baptiste, in addition to her work at St Sulpice. The Grand Orgue and Pedal date from 1870, and were built by Merklin, the remainder dates from 1908, and was built by Merklin’s successor Gutschenritter. It is a modest three manual instrument of 28 stops, its variety of beautiful 8’ colour renders it entirely suitable for the accompaniment of a ’cello. In any case it deserves a better photo than the out-of-focus effort on the back of the booklet.

Unfortunately the CD is let down by poor programming. There are simply too many ‘pretty tunes’, too similar in style and duration to each other, with two contemporary pieces stuck on the end, almost as an afterthought. In addition, building a programme around Boëllmann’s over-played, but actually rather uninteresting Suite Gothique, seems misjudged, even if the idea to have the Prière a Notre Dame played by the ’cello is a cute one. I find it astonishing that Madame Cauchefer-Choplin writes that "After all Boëllmann also wrote the beautiful ‘Variations Symphoniques’ for cello and organ" but then doesn’t record this completely forgotten work! I can only assume that this will follow on their next CD. As the Duo are clearly not afraid to play contemporary music, can I also request ‘In Croce’, a really effective work for the combination by Sofia Gubaidulina?

In addition some occasional intonation waywardness from M. Cauchefer, (one moment especially near the beginning of the Saint-Saëns) could easily have been corrected with a repeat take.

It is a shame that these small things should mar a disc with such an original concept. That said, there are enough beautiful sounds here to recommend this as an attractive ‘mood-music’ CD.

Chris Bragg

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